Gary J. Shipley’s first novel, Theoretical Animals, was released last year by BlazeVOX [books]. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in various places, including Spork, Thieves Jargon, Glossator, The Big Stupid Review, 3:AM Magazine, and Word Riot. He is on the editorial board of the arts journal SCRIPT.
The shapes are crumpled drainage, their undigested anatomies merging currents of deflating balloons.
Progress is an earthquake of torsos.
The silver comb feeds strands of grease and shit through its mauled teeth.
So this is where everyone comes to read hair.
If they notice my holes they don’t let on.
Where are all the children unfolding themselves?
I don’t see the chickens pecking at my eyes.
Out of nowhere the perversity of thumbs.
But it’s the rolled out face at the window that finally puts the itch in me. Our violence will involve wasps and domestic cleaning sprays. We’ll bolt steroids and bleed into wood.
I’m turning it over in search of saliva.
I’m raking an intestinal rash.
I’m seeing physicality as a species of sand.
They suffer me like children suffer irony.
The next time I think of pathology I’ll give it a smooth surface.
A man will walk past. He’ll suck on the remains of a cigar. I’ll imagine it an abdomen, its smoke uncrumpling the soul of a moth.
The routine is a swamp full of purposeful cats.
And there are heads like suns eaten with eclipsed fire.
When I arrive, I’ll ask someone to take my picture. They’ll ask me to smile. I won’t. I’ll say it’s not that kind of picture, without knowing what kind of picture it is.